Carla Diana is a designer, author, and educator who explores the impact of future technologies through hands-on experiments in product design and tangible interaction. She has designed a range of products from robots to connected home appliances, and her robot designs have appeared on the covers of Popular Science, Technology Review and the New York Times Sunday Review. Her role as creative lead for research robots allows her to maintain an independent practice where she is often called upon as a consultant to provide client insight by describing and illustrating future visions. She was an industrial designer for the iconic humanoid robots, Simon and Curi, and the creator of interactive sound project repercussion.org.
Carla has had a long-standing working relationship with the product innovation firm Smart Design and received the honor of being named the firm’s first Smart Fellow. In this role, she oversaw the Smart Interaction Lab, an initiative focused on design explorations in the form of tinkering and hands-on experimentation around topics such as expressive objects, digital making, and presence and awareness. She was also Advisor for the group Tomorrow-Lab, a young design firm that creates electro-mechanical solutions for smart devices.
Prior to Cranbrook, Carla was Assistant Professor of Product and Industrial Design at Parsons the New School. Prior to Parsons, she created and taught some of the country’s first courses focused on designing smart objects for the University of Pennsylvania’s Integrated Product Design Program, the School of Visual Arts and the Georgia Institute of Technology. She maintains strategic alliances with a number of academic research groups such as UT Austin’s Socially Intelligent Machines Lab, where advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning are manifest in expressive robots.
From 2002 to 2007 she was Professor of Interactive Design at the Savannah College of Art and Design, where she co-wrote the curriculum for the College’s first Interactive Design program and developed Physical Computing courses.
Carla writes and lectures frequently on the social impact of robotics and emerging technology. Her seminal article, “Talking, Walking Objects”, appeared on the cover of the New York Times Sunday Review in January 2013, and is a good representation of her view of our robotic future. She is the author of the first children’s book about the future of 3D printing and design, LEO the Maker Prince, published by Maker Media and coauthor of a book on smart object design to be published by Harvard Business Review Press next year. She currently cohosts the Robopsych Podcast, a biweekly discussion around design and the psychological impact of human-robot interaction.
Carla holds an MFA in Design from Cranbrook Academy of Art and a Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from The Cooper Union.